Coronavirus - 25 March


• Portugal brings forward domestic travel ban
• Tokyo Olympics torch relay begins
• Denmark pauses AZ vaccine for three weeks
• Israel has fully vaccinated 50% of its population
• New Zealand increases quarantine requirements

World news

• Israel has administered two doses of the vaccine to 50.07% of the overall population, and the first does to 55.96%.

• AstraZeneca has published its most up-to-date vaccine results, saying the vaccine is 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness, following a new analysis of results for its major US trial. The interim results from the Phase 3 clinical trial of more than 32,000 people found the vaccine was 79% effective against symptomatic disease, and 100% effective against severe disease and death.

• Poland will be impose new restrictions on Saturday that are expected to last for two weeks, until 9 April. They include limits to the number of people in churches, and closures of:

• DIY and furniture shops (and stricter limits of people in shops and post offices)
• Nurseries
• Salons and hairdressers
• Sports centres (except for professional athletes)

• Luxembourg has announced a partial reopening of its hospitality industry, with cafés and restaurants able to serve customers in outdoor areas again from 7 April.

• Finland is to resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday, but will only give it to people aged 65 and over. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Chief Physician Taneli Puumalainen wrote in the press release “There is no increased risk of the very rare blood clotting disorders after vaccination in people over 65 years of age, of which the possible association with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is currently being investigated. Vaccinations for this age group can therefore be continued as normal”.

• Denmark will extend its suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine for a further three weeks while the authorities continue evaluating it, saying that a link between the jab and unusual blood clots cannot be ruled out.

• The Tokyo Olympic torch relay has begun. The first group of runners carried the Olympic torch through Fukushima.

• New Zealand has doubled the time returning citizens are required to stay to avoid paying a $3,100 quarantine fee, from three months to six.

• Portugal has brought forward its domestic travel ban. Residents are barred from leaving their local district from the early hours of tomorrow until 05:00 local time on 5 April.

• Italy will fail to meet an EU target of vaccinating 80% of citizens aged over 80 by the end of March.

Company news

Banking & Financial services

 Nationwide – is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme. Under the plan, the company is closing three offices in Swindon, with 3,000 staff either moving to the nearby HQ, working from home, or mixing the two.